Sanford's Pass on Stimulus Irks S. Carolina

Gov. raises profile but angers home state by rejecting part of money
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 4, 2009 9:03 AM CDT
Mark Sanford shows off a chart of South Carolina's Retirement Funding Ratios for 2007 during a press conference regarding the state's application for funds from the economic stimulus package.   (AP Photo/Brett Flashnick)
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(Newser) – Mark Sanford’s opposition to the stimulus and his rejection of $700 million in funds have vaulted him onto the national stage. But they’re not playing so well in the state he’s actually running, the New York Times reports. The most conservative papers in the state have taken him to task, as have his fellow Republicans in the state legislature, and even members of his own cabinet.

The chairman of the state’s Senate Finance Committee, a Republican, says rejecting the money—mostly for education; he did accept about $2 billion in aid for Medicaid and other uses—will cause a “budgetary Armageddon,” with public schools losing 3,000 jobs and prisons forced to release thousands of inmates. But Sanford isn’t scared by those numbers, or public outrage. “I think the fatal flaw of a lot of people in politics is that they want to be loved,” he said. “I sleep like a baby.”